How to Create Tilt Shift Images

Have you ever seen those images of real life objects or places that have been manipulated in such a way, that they look like toy models or miniatures of scenes? Instagram and other photography based sites are filled with these amazing pictures, and you too can create this effect very easily with your current equipment, and a little know how. So, how are these pictures made? We here at Grand View have the low down for you!

There Are Two Ways To Achieve The Effect:

Tilt Shift (or miniature faking, as it is sometimes called) can be achieved in two separate ways. Either with an expensive specialist lense for your camera, or artificially through programs such as Photoshop. This guide is based in Photoshop, for already taken images. But first, some tips for taking the perfect photo to apply the Tilt Shift effect to.

  • The photo must be from above (not directly overhead however). To get the correct depth of field for your photo, make sure it is taken from above, at an angle. Real miniature scenes are shot in this manner, and are rarely level with the subject.
  • Choose a simple scene. Complicated scenes are too busy, and the effect is lessened in these kinds of images.
  • Make sure that your image is sharp, with good lighting. When you apply the tilt shifting effect, blur will be added later.
  • Choose interesting scenes. Things like Cathedrals, with their spires etc are interesting to look at. The top of a shopping mall is not. Also, if there are people in the image, try and capture the image where they appear obscure. People rarely feature in real life miniature photos.

Photoshop Treatment:

Once you have your photo taken and imported into Photoshop, there are a few things you must do. The first is to create a mask. Once this is done, select the gradient tool, which will allow you to choose what will be in focus for your picture, and how to place the blur gradient. You then apply a lens blur filter (things will begin to fall into place at this stage). You will need to experiment a little with the gradient placement and how much lens blur to apply, but a little tinkering will reveal the best results to you in time.

Other Settings: 

You really want the colours to pop in your image, so adjust your master saturation levels, ranging about 25% to 30%. As a final step, select the Curves tool and adjust the contrast to enhance the highlights of your image. You will find that the colours of your image then look more model like.

These are the basic steps to achieve the Tilt Shift look. Of course, you can go as in depth with this style of photography as you would like. It is worth having a search in YouTube, as there are a great number of instructional videos that are of assistance there also.

Happy shooting!